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Missoula Valley Water Quality District

What are they?

Solvents are organic chemicals that dissolve other substances. Some examples are paint thinners, strippers, removers, gasoline additives, spot removers, rubbing alcohol, grease/stain removers and nail polish removers.

What Makes Them Hazardous?

Solvents are hazardous because they are typically flammable and may be poisonous when swallowed or absorbed through the skin and lungs. Some solvents are chlorinated and tend to persist in the environment. When solvents are disposed of improperly – in the trash, on the ground or down a drain – they could cause fires, or explosions in sewer systems, or may contaminate the soil, lakes, streams or ground water.

Safety Tips

  • Never pour solvents down a drain. Vapors may build up causing an explosion.
  • Do not completely fill the container; solvents need room to expand.
  • Always properly label containers.
  • Do not store solvents in a car trunk. There is a threat of explosion from heat and impact.
  • Never smoke around any solvents.
  • Avoid breathing fumes. Keep a lid on solvents when storing and transporting.

Disposal Options


  • Annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event: Haz Waste Days, in September, accepts solvents.

The Residential Disposal Guide is provided by the Missoula Valley Water Quality District as a public service and is not an endorsement of specific businesses, services or products. Any omissions or inaccuracies are unintentional. Please contact us with corrections or additions. Call businesses or agencies to confirm hours, locations and charges for services, if any. For information on disposal of items not listed, email or call the Water Quality District at (406) 258-4890, M - F, 8 am to 5 pm.